For much of my life, I was trapped in a cage.
The bars of my cage were forged from fears and insecurities that took root when I was a young girl. Years of negative experiences continually reinforced the walls of my self-imposed prison.
I lived… but it was a life longing for something more; something better. I just existed; reacting to the world around me. A world that felt emotionally scary, unpredictable, and full of disappointments.
I know this experience is fairly common, but at the time it didn’t feel that way. It seemed to me that most people I knew were happy, outgoing and… normal.
I wanted the persona of a strong, confident girl who could handle whatever difficult situation was thrown her way. But being a chameleon-like people-pleaser who avoided conflict at all costs, I had NO idea how to become her.
Don’t get me wrong – life wasn’t all doom and gloom.
College was an opportunity to reinvent myself. I was more outgoing. I laughed more. I felt more confident in my abilities. I fell in love. It all felt great.
I married my college sweetheart and started building a career. I capitalized on my gifts for writing, design, and inherent ability to develop processes. I climbed the ladder at a few companies before getting my big break when I landed a marketing communications job at Hewlett-Packard.
It was a wonderful, creative environment that expanded my skills and experience. Through interacting with all levels of employees, I learned what worked, what didn’t… and why.
Like the woman I had dreamed of as a girl, I was confident, great at what I did, and could handle any difficult situation thrown my way with tact and compassion.
I shined at work… but my personal life was a completely different story.
When it came to matters of the heart, I was still trapped in a cage of emotionally unhealthy habits and patterns.
In my personal relationships, I did what I knew best: followed the rules, didn’t make waves, and was the nice girl who’s always helpful. I did this because I feared confrontation and rejection.
I fantasized about the world I wanted to live in – fueled by stories of “happily ever after”. But reality has a way of crushing your dreams when you don’t really believe they can come true for you.
I was silently miserable outside of work, but faking it as best I could.
At some point, I resigned myself to thinking that’s just how it was going to be for me; that I wasn’t good enough for anything more.
But I continued to excel at my job and hone my skills. I had children and found motherhood came naturally. It was a beacon of light in an otherwise dim world. My kids became what I lived for.
My first marriage ended, and I found someone who shared my views and values on life and family. We added a daughter to our blended family of boys and I felt my life was starting to turn a corner.
For the first time, I felt I could finally break those self-defeating habits and patterns that stubbornly lingered. Becoming aware of them was the first step. The second was realizing that it was entirely up to ME to change them.
Of course there were bumps in the road. I got laid off from Hewlett-Packard. Living in a blended family had its share of challenges. Overcoming the negative self-talk in my head proved harder than I anticipated.
But I remained optimistic that the life I wanted was within my grasp.
And then in one horrible moment the world crumbled before my eyes.
In 2009, our 4-year-old daughter died suddenly. The pain of grief was so unbearable I didn’t think I could survive it.
The next few years were a tortuous journey of learning how to live again; to re-engage into a world I wanted nothing to do with – a world that didn’t include my daughter.
My previous coping mechanisms no longer worked. After a lifetime of suppressing painful feelings, I could no longer hide my emotions. Instead of suffering in silence, I found strength by reaching out to communities of support.
Surprisingly, carrying the overwhelming weight of grief actually strengthened me.
If you’ve ever worked out way beyond your normal limits, you know how sore and weak you feel afterwards. Yet the next time you push yourself to those same limits, it feels a little bit easier. You’ll still be sore and tired, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Grief – whether from the loss of a person or something important to you – has the same effect.
After being in the chrysalis of those challenging first few years after my daughter’s death, I emerged as someone new.
Grief had forced me to look inward. The more I learned about myself and life, the stronger I felt. As my inner strength increased, other areas of my life began to change too.
Fear began to give way to compassionate understanding. I learned how to hear my inner voice over the incessant din of negative self-talk. All the changes I wanted for so many years were finally starting to take shape.
I felt so inspired I wanted to share everything I was learning with others.
A few years ago, I discovered my passion for a different type of writing. I built a grief-support blog and began writing from my heart. I found that when I’m honest and intentional is when I feel most connected – to myself and to the universe.
After getting such a positive response from those who read my personal blog, I recently decided I want to get paid to write this way.
But not just write about any random topic. I want to pull from my extensive experience in companies big and small, as well as all that I’ve learned the hard way about self-care and relationships. I want to write honest posts that help people live more meaningful and authentic lives.
After months of fruitless searching, I saw a job posting that stopped me in my tracks: write blog posts for a company that promoted holistic wellness and personal development.
That’s how I discovered Abundant Yogi – an organization that educates heart centered entrepreneurs out of painful conflict around money, self-sabotage, and inhibited self-expression into having the freedom and abundance to do what they love every day, and be more authentically themselves.
I wish I had found Abundant Yogi a long time ago.
Going through their programs and having access to their community of support would have saved me YEARS of unnecessary heartache and past mistakes in life and business.
So after months of applying for blogging jobs and getting no responses due to lack of paid professional experience, I applied for this job with hopeful – but cautious – optimism.
When I got a response and had the opportunity to prove myself through my writing, I was convinced I would become Abundant Yogi’s next blogger even though the email indicated I was up against so many other hopeful writers.
I poured my heart and soul onto the page, and in the end I was one of TWO writers (among more than 500 hopeful applicants) who were asked to have an exploratory conversation about becoming staff writers for Abundant Yogi.
On the call we learned about the past and projected growth of the company, how until now the voice of the company had primarily been Kris Ward’s, and that they were ready to “open the doors” to let new voices convey the essential message of AY to a larger audience – but do so in a way that stayed true to the established voice and brand of the company. I also learned this was the first writer recruitment of more planned for the near future.
Excited about being involved with an organization and group of people that seemed to match my purpose in life, I made my intentions clear that I wanted not just to write blog posts, but lend my organizational and communications experience to help the company fulfill their growth plans. As I write this today, I’m thrilled to say I’ve become one of the newest team members at Abundant Yogi.
It’s where I’m meant to be.
In future AY blog posts, I’ll share with you all that I’ve learned about what works, what doesn’t…and why. My hope is that along with the ground-breaking programs we offer, Abundant Yogi’s blog will continually inspire and motivate you to live a life of purpose and authenticity no matter what life throws in your way.